Extension services, farmer's perception, Logit model, privatisation, smallholder farmers, socio-economic characteristics


In South Africa, the state provides all extension and advisory support services to smallholder farmers. However, it appears that the government is struggling to provide adequate farmer support, and production among smallholders is not improving, leading to many calling for the states' withdrawal and the private sector to deliver extension services to farmers. The study aimed to assess farmers' perceptions of the privatisation of extension services in South Africa, and it was guided by the following research questions: 1) What are smallholder farmers' perceptions of the privatisation of extension services? 2) which factors influence these perceptions? 3 If extension services were privatised, would farmers be willing to pay? Research activities included a formal survey conducted on 265 farmers, selected using simple random and data collected using a structured questionnaire through interviews. Chi-square, t-test, and logistic regression were employed to analyse descriptive and inferential statistics. The logistic regression showed that farmers who supported the privatisation of extension services had access to secure land tenure rights, a frequent response from extension officers, and were satisfied with extension visits. The study concluded that extension services should be privatised in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces, and farmers who exhibit these characteristics should be used as innovators. This study contributes to the growing understanding of the private sector’s involvement in smallholder agriculture in developing countries. The study's findings provide empirical evidence and direction to be considered by donors and policymakers in pursuing pluralistic agricultural extension services production in South Africa.